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small-livrmHead out down the twisting, spanish moss-draped streets of Callawassie Island, and you might come across a house tucked in the woods whose tin roof and simple lines look like many of the other beautiful homes in this island community.

But look under that roof, beneath the concrete floors, and you’ll find a world of difference in this house — you’ll see the high-tech system that harnesses the power of the planet to heat this home. You’ll see rainwater being triple filtered before it hits any waterway. And that’s just a couple of the cutting-edge eco-friendly enhancements you’ll find in the home of Be Green Packaging’s Marc Blitzer.

Blitzer’s Bosch geothermal heat pump adjusts as needed to cool or heat the 2,300-square-foot home. The system uses the nearly constant temperature of the earth to provide air conditioning, heat and hot water through a system of closed looped tubes buried to a depth of six feet and circulated through a heat pump, which Blitzer has in his attic.


Interior design is about much more than picking the right curtains or the right furniture. It’s about creating a comfortable space, a space where families create memories, a space that is warm and inviting.

Two interior designers from the award-winning J Banks Design Group on Hilton Head Island took some time with Monthly to talk about what goes into the process of creating that perfect space.

byrd_00104Kitchen No. 1:
Subtle and subdued


The Designer

Deb Van Plew is originally from Chicago and attended Purdue University. She has been on Hilton Head since 1993 and has been with J Banks for 12 years.



exterior03The view has barely changed through the front windows of Bluffton’s Pine House from the time it was built in 1903 until today. Looking out over Heyward Cove and the May River, the occupants could watch the mist melt off the water or catch sight of fishing vessels passing by.

Nestled amongst the Spanish moss-draped trees near the end of Boundary Street, the Pine House was built by Savannahnian Dr. Freeman Valentine Walker. It later passed into the hands of Gaillard and Lucille Heyward, who bought the property in 1943.

The Heywards, whose early South Carolina ancestor Thomas Heyward Jr. signed the Declaration of Independence, enjoyed rare indoor plumbing and the only concrete basement in Bluffton. Following the death in 1992 of his mother Lucille, the late Thomas G. Heyward inherited his childhood home. He and his wife Joan researched the possibilities of salvaging the building and restoring it to its original condition.


Web extra: Scroll down to the bottom to enjoy a slideshow of photos from before and after the rebuilding of the Pine House.


“We felt like we were entrusted to save it for future generations,” said Joan. “Tommy felt like his parents would have wanted that.”

dixon_night_outside-kitchenToday’s home expansions break down the walls, add multilayered decks, fire pits and weatherproofed TVs.

Ask most transplants why they moved to the Lowcountry and the answer will invariably be “the weather.” Those who now live here were once chased indoors up north by cold, snow and daylight hours swallowed by 9-to-5 jobs.

Whether newcomers are still working or have come to retire, most count themselves fortunate to have discovered what the locals call paradise and are taking full advantage of the warmer clime.
That sometimes means rethinking how and where families choose to relax.

“Back in the day it was always about how big the house was. People were going from 3,000- to 4,000-square foot homes in order to have a larger living or family room,” said Scott Littlejohn of HB Panoramics on Hilton Head Island. “What we’re finding now is people are increasing their living space by building a living area with a pool, a kitchen – somewhere you can have some fun, especially during the long days. It’s why they moved here in the first place.”

hd-2012-10-exteriorComfort and relaxation are as much a part of this Palmetto Bluff home as fat oysters and barbecue are in the Lowcountry.

The award-winning residence on Wilson Row, just off the square, was the recipient of three 2012 Aurora Awards, a design competition of the Southeast Building Conference.

Architect Wayne Windham designed the three-story house as part of a six-unit development, offering buyers a couple of different plans to fit the small lots.

Spring Island homeowners blend old with new for casual comfort.

No detail was too small for the architect, builder, cabinet maker or homeowner to include in plans for a two-bedroom home on Spring Island.

With a sense of being both stewards of the land as well as of their home, the owners chose to use reclaimed materials and repurpose other items when planning.

Tucked in next to part of the community’s 3,000 acres of wildlife preserve, the 2,911-square-foot home greets visitors with a large and welcoming screened-in front porch. The beautiful mahogany doors can be hooked open for a more expansive feel – insects permitting.

A Paint Primer and Goof Proof Tips, Tools, and Techniques

By Debi Lynes

paintedroomColor theory is interesting. Shades, tones, and color hues can say things words cannot. Color has a way of calming or exciting the mind, soothing anxiety, and stimulating creativity. Color can isolate or build harmony. In fact, in the field of interior design, supportive and facilitative design, and architecture, “functional” color is now used to promote human health and wellness, both physically and mentally. Needless to say, the selection and application of paint color can be a great way to create your home sanctuary.
Here are 7 goof proof tips and techniques for getting the most from your paint.


home-frontPalmetto Bluff Style Home seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor living with designs that inspire.

High ceilings, large windows and the muted colors that define the Lowcountry’s coastal landscape make Palmetto Bluff’s Style Home as much of an outdoor experience as it does a comfortable, casual home.

0712_homedisc1Haig Point home dazzles with views across the Calibogue Sound.

When Ken Crast moved to Hilton Head Island on his boat from New York State in 1978, he didn’t think he could have used the vessel to design and build custom homes on Daufuskie Island.

Crast lived for a while on his boat on Hilton Head, met his future wife Susan, and they began designing and building singular homes throughout the Lowcountry, and as far south as the Ford Plantation near Richmond Hill, Ga.

In March, the Crasts completed a home on Daufuskie Island’s Haig Point for Tammy and Kris Kelley, a couple that moved down from Connecticut. Naturally, the locale created a few logistical demands.

After living in 13 different communities during their married life, Gene and Denise Conahan of Colleyville, Texas, have finally settled on their haven they will soon call their permanent home.

The Conahans, originally from Philadelphia, often vacationed on Hilton Head while living in Greenville. When the couple joined forces with H2 Builders in 2008 they knew they had plans for the perfect home in the perfect location:

Bluffton’s Belfair.

“It is now our haven,” said Denise from their home about halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. “At first we fell in love with Hilton Head, then with Belfair, and then with Bluffton — we just love the way old town Bluffton is lovely and small. We hope to move there permanently by the end of next year. It’s a great house for having friends and family and entertaining. It’s a wonderful gathering place for our children.”

Initially, the Conahans were a bit concerned about building their new home “from scratch” and from a long distance, Denise said. “But, H2 Builders were wonderful and easy to work with. They have a great system, and there was no problem being here while the home was being built. We love every detail.”